So you have a brand spanking new pair of hiking boots but don't know how to look after your hiking boots properly? Maybe you have an old pair of hiking boots that you want to start looking after? Either way, you need to know how to look after your hiking boots. I should know, my last pair of hiking boots could have lasted a bit longer had I taken the time to learn how to look after them properly. Lessons learned and all that.
But luckily, I have learned the lesson and now I can pass that lesson on to you. Choice huh? So, without further ado, I present to you how to look after your hiking boots so you can get a few more miles out of them. Which let's face it, hiking boots are expensive so the more wear you can get out of them, the better. With the right care, you can lengthen the lifespan of your boots.
This post contains affiliate links which means I may make a small commission if you decide to purchase something. You do not have to do this and I only recommend products I can stand by 100%. Thanks for helping my feet stay covered in boots, I appreciate your support!
How to look after your hiking boots
Wear them in first
For leather boots, you should be wearing your boots in before popping any waterproofing, wax or other products on them. Let your boots shape and blend into your foot first. Once you have been on a few short walks and have noticed that the leather is supple from the sun then use a product such as TriNova Leather Conditioner and Restorer with Water Repellent Formula on your boots. This will keep the leather soft and hydrated.
Clean your boots after use
Clean them after every use. Not like yours truly used to do. This will ensure your boots live a nice, happy, long life. While your boots are designed to live life on the edge, mud can ruin the boots outter shell if left on.
- Take out the laces and insoles.
- Brush off any loose dirt with a soft brush
- If the sole of your shoe has mud caked on them, use a hard-bristled brush to get off the mud
- Spray on cleaner and wipe it off clean with a wet cloth or sponge
Waterproof your boots
Water can ruin leather and you want your nylon boots to keep on keeping out the water. Waterproof your boots with a product such as Granger’s Footwear Repel. You don't need to waterproof your boots every time you come back from a hike. Just when you notice that your boots are starting to become saturated in the rain. A waterproofing agent should repel the water so it slippy slides off, not absorbs.
To do this:
- While your boots are still damp, spray on the footwear repel all over the boot, including seams
- Wipe it off with a clean cloth
- Let air dry
Let your boots dry out
Don't put your boots beside the heater or fire. Too much heat can crack the leather. Direct heat can also cause boots to shrink and stiffen-up as well as affecting the adhesives used in some footwear. However, you can dry your insoles in direct sunlight as it will help get rid of some of the odors stored away from sweaty, smelly feet.
Protecting leather hiking boots
To prevent your leather boots from cracking, use a leather conditioner. You only need to do this sparingly, however or you may be doing more damage than good.
A great leather conditioner is TriNova Leather Conditioner and Restorer.
- Use a clean cloth and apply the conditioner to clean damp boots.
- Rub the conditioner in a circular motion
- Make sure you cover the seams and joints as well as the rest of the boot
- Apply two to three thin layers, allowing to dry in between
Store your boots properly
Store your lovely clean boots in a well-aired, dry environment. Not in a plastic bag (looks sheepish). Or the boot of a car (still looks sheepish). Storing them properly will help your boots stay in tip-top shape ready for your next big (or little) adventure.
Top Tips for how to look after your hiking boots
- The better you look after your boots, the longer they will last.
- Try to avoid salt-water if possible. The salt will rust the eyelets and crack the leather on boots. Always soak your boots after stomping through salt water.
- Keep an eye out for wear. You may just need to replace one part of the boot such as the sole instead of the whole boot.
- If your boots get really wet, throw some newspaper in there or use Absorba Balls to help draw out moisture and prevent odour.
If you want your boots to last the distance, you need to know how to look after your hiking boots properly. Take it from someone who learned the lesson the hard way. Your boots will last much longer if you clean, protect and store them correctly. I know it's a pain in the you know what coming home and having to clean them when all you want to do is collapse on the couch with a well-earned glass of vino. Trust me though, you will thank yourself in the long run.
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- How to hike solo
- How to hike with children
- Summer hikes - how to hike safely in the summer
- The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro National Park
- Beehive Creek, Pohangina Valley
- Rangiwahia Hut, Ruahine Range
- Old Coach Road, Ohakune
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